How the Church Can Be a Neighbor in Today’s World

Miguel de la Torre says, “God’s self-revelation to humanity does not occur from the centers of world power but in the margins of society.”

In other words, if we want to encounter God, if we want to come face-to-face with the reality of who and where Jesus is in our day, we have to enter into solidarity with those on the outside of almost everything we find comfortable.

It means relegating the demonstration of the gospel to something that only happens on Sunday mornings just won’t cut it.

The Church and Its Refugee Neighbors

Last year, I was struck by the complexity of the Syrian refugee crisis, but perplexed by the mixed responses from churches and fellow Christians. To me, it was a no-brainer: we should advocate for and come to the aid of those in need.

Unfortunately, many didn’t think it was that easy.

As a result, I decided to do my graduate research on the topic of “What it means for the church to be a neighbor in today’s world.” I explored the biblical, historical, theological, and practical sides of it, coming to the conclusion that as a Church and as Christians, we have to allow compassion to disrupt whatever narrative we encounter, because only then can we genuinely be driven to actions of love and mercy, only then are we truly manifesting the reality of the gospel in the world.

Becoming the neighbor Jesus talked about

If you’re interested in reading my graduate research, I turned it into a little eBook that you can download by clicking the link/picture below. No email address required. It’s all yours. (Just… obviously if you use it for something, give credit where credit’s due).


Download “What It Means for the Church to Be a Neighbor in Today’s World”

(Click image to download – or click here)

What it means for the church to be a neighbor in today's world - Matthew Snyder



About Matthew Snyder

Matt is a thirty-something writer and young adult minister. He lives in Atlanta with his wife, Merridith, and their dog, Finn.


  1. As long as Dualism consumes our religious institutions, and our understanding of God is only fed out of one stream i.e. our stream, I’m not very hopeful for a benevolent world of loving neighbors. The Church might be a generation or two away from something that actually looks and acts like Jesus. Violent men have taken the Kingdom by force. Agape must be reborn.

    1. You might be right. But I guess I’m that naive guy who’s trying to shape the environment in the church in order that those generations one or two rungs up the ladder might actually have some healthy soil to root themselves in. Baby steps, Mike. Baby steps. I’m not giving up.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *